Kerry Wilson, a policy specialist in the Governor's Center for Local Government Services in Harrisburg, refers to FEMA maps as "probably the weakest link" in Pennsylvania's flood-fighting efforts.
Especially worrisome to Wilson
is this emerging trend: Communities that restricted building in what they considered vulnerable areas outside defined floodplains now want to retreat to FEMA boundaries - making more room for development.
So far this year, the idea has been publicly floated in Upper Providence and Whitpain Townships and discussed among officials in Horsham Township, all in Montgomery County, a Philadelphia suburb. Wilson
fired off a don't-do-it letter to Upper Providence supervisors.Last month, after listening to flood-wary residents vent at a meeting, the officials voted not to relax their rules.Whitpain did likewise.
Communities should be taking more precautions, not fewer, Wilson
said."We can't let our guard down."
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